Sunday, April 29, 2007

Carpenter Bees, Beautiful & Destructive

A Male Carpenter Bee feeding on a Dandelion



Carpenter bees are considered a pest. In regions they inhabit exposed lumber, particularly softwood are at risk of damage. For nesting sites the females will drill perfectly round 7/16” holes in the underside of any board or timber. They are particularly damaging to decks, both treated and untreated. Carpenter bees can be discouraged with a coat of paint or stain but even that is not guaranteed to stop them completely. The nesting hole will make a 90 deg. Turn once inside and continue on for perhaps over a foot. Into this cavity they will deposit pollen and eggs. The carpenter bees will also winter over here.



However destructive they are, they are a beautiful little creature. At this time of year the males are commonly found hovering near buildings, staking out the breeding rights to a particular piece of territory. They will vigorously attack any insect daring to invade. When a female comes near the airborne mating ritual will ensue



I’m sure that by now you are wondering how I can identify the sex of these bees. Well it is quite simple. The males, also known as drones have a small yellowish patch on their face just below their compound eyes. The “white” face can be seen in this photograph just above the bee’s black mouth parts. The females face is completely black. The male does not have a stinger and may be caught and handled with no risk. Do not try this with the female! Although normally very docile they can inflict a painful sting.

8 comments:

Chad Oneil said...

OH, MY! Your best "Bee shot" ever! He looks like a Monster!

Thiên said...

That's a very nice shot Salty Dawg.

Thiên said...

BTW, thought you might like these two pics of bees...

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/84/218712855_147b1bad64.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/92/218712904_36c6703020.jpg

lv2scpbk said...

Thanks for the education on bees. They maybe a pest but they are beautiful in a photo. I'd rather see them in a photo.

photowannabe said...

Great shot Salty and the information was interesting. I had no idea why they were called carpenter bees. Good stuff.

ASH said...

That's a very cool shot! I remember my Mom getting frustrated one spring because a carpenter bee drilled into her broomstick :) I also remember being taught that there were two kinds of bumblebees - ones with black butts and ones with yellow butts. One kind would sting and one would not, so I knew which ones I needed to avoid. I don't remember which one was which, but apparently I should have been looking at their faces!

Lucy said...

Hey Salty,
I love the pic. It's so vivid! The bee looks like it's about to bust out of my computer screen. :-)

Jill said...

Good info. We have these and I can hear them at work. I will have to be more watchful.